Sound Transit to use tax dollars in new spot: the classroom

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by ROBERTA ROMERO / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 18 at 11:44 PM

SEATTLE – Sound Transit is always looking to increase ridership. Now, the agency is considering targeting an entirely new consumer: five-year-olds.

A bid listing on the Sound Transit website calls for a consultant to help create education programs and curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.

"All transit agencies market their services," said Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick. "It's a good business practice and everybody benefits when people ride transit."

One option being considered is for Sound Transit to offer curriculum on its website to teachers who are interested. The bid also asks consultants to look at teacher training and outreach.
 
But not everyone agrees. Washington Policy Center, a Seattle based non-partisan watchdog organization, doesn't believe voter-approved taxes meant for mass transit should go to educational programs.

"Sound Transit is supposed to build mass transit systems with our taxes. That is what voters agreed to. They are not supposed to be going into the classroom and targeting kids with their agenda," said Mike Ennis, Director of the Washington Policy Center's Center for Transportation.  

The center says it understands marketing to voters, drivers and consumers, but that five-year-old kindergartners should be left out of it.
 
Sound Transit says this is only a bidding process to hire a consultant to see if this is a viable idea. The agency won't reveal the cost of the bid so that the process can remain competitive. Bids have to be in by May 10th, at that time Sound Transit says it will provide the information.

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